17 MARCH 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 13405
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The farming and forestry sectors are getting together to agree how best to tackle climate change.
A round-table discussion was announced by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead on a visit to a hill farm near Crianlarich today, where he met representatives of the National Sheep Association (NSA).
“Scotland’s rural land needs to put food on our plates but also has a huge role to play in tackling the threat of climate change. Balancing competing demands such as these is why we are developing Scotland’s first-ever Land Use Strategy.
“We need to plant trees on 15,000 hectares of land per year to help achieve a 42 per cent reduction in Scotland’s carbon emissions. We can only achieve this with the help of farmers and other land managers.
“Many in the farming industry already recognise that tree planting can bring benefits and opportunities for their businesses.
“However, I know that some people still perceive forestry to be a threat. At next month’s round-table we will reassure farmers that we are determined to strike the right balance between competing demands for land by thinking creatively about how best to use of this finite resource.”
Some of the benefits of tree planting on farms include the creation of more shelter for livestock, improved biosecurity through separation of different groups of livestock and being able to make use of unproductive land (such as bracken).
The round-table is scheduled to take place on Thursday 15 April. It will inform the development of the draft Land Use Strategy, due to be published later this year.
Invitees include the NSA, NFU Scotland, National Beef Association (NBA), Scottish Beef Cattle Association (SBCA), Tenant Farmers Association (TFA), Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), Scottish Crofting Foundation (SCF), ConFor, UK Forest Products Association, Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA) as well as Scottish Government and Forestry Commission Representatives.
Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson announced the Scottish Government’s plans to have 100 million trees planted by 2015 here: www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/03/05131411
Stuart Lewis: 07796 335881 / 0131 244 2625 (As Stuart will be driving or attending the Crianlarich visit for most of the day, Paul Munro of Forestry Commission Scotland is an alternate contact on 0131 314 6507 / 07785 527590 or at firstname.lastname@example.org)